Sep 15, 2012; Iowa City, IA, USA; Northern Iowa Panthers wide receiver Chad Owens (19) is tackled by Iowa Hawkeyes linebacker James Morris (44) and cornerback Micah Hyde (18) during the game at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Purdy/The Des Moines Register via US PRESSWIRE
"There must be some kind of way out of here," said the joker to the thief.
There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief."
Three weeks in, and the expectations game has spun completely out of control. Iowa is 2-1, and they will almost certainly be 3-1 after Saturday's game, and they will have beaten three teams with either "Northern" or "Central" in their university names. Iowa fans are generally a positive lot, though, and we will ignore this and discount the result against Iowa State as the natural progression of a program in flux and move right back to where we started. It's amazing what a fullback against a I-AA defense can do. I've come to the conclusion that we will know nothing about this team until mid-October at the earliest, and I've slowly worked toward acceptance of that reality.
"No reason to get excited" the thief he kindly spoke.
"There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke.
"But you and I we've been through that, and this is not our fate."
Traditionally, this is a week where Iowa would open things up: Four weeks into the season, a mere eight days from Big Ten play, MACrifice on the plate. Last year, Iowa went from jumbo formation to four-wide without a huddle in its first two offensive plays, and everyone gasped. In 2010, it was Ball State and some odd little offensive wrinkles we never saw again. Arkansas State hung too close for comfort in 2009, and the schedule didn't allow for it in 2008 (Iowa played its two true cupcakes in the first two weeks), but even stretching back to the 2002 beatdown of Utah State, the week four sacrificial lamb is a Kirk Ferentz tradition, a glimmer of offensive hope that everyone will use to build expectations back to pre-ISU levels.
"All along the watchtower, princes kept the view"
What we might learn this week is just where the man in the press box is going to take this team. For the first two weeks of the season, Iowa's offense looked like Kirk Ferentz's Buick crashed into Greg Davis' car that only goes horizontal. There was no coherent design to incorporate the passing game into the running game. There was no attempt to disguise what was coming. And that doesn't even take into consideration the "no-huddle offense" that you and every other program in the country know as a two-minute drill. Last week, Iowa's offense found some semblance of coherence, even though it took a clear repeal of the Greg Davis Offense, reinstitution of the KOK passing game, and Northern Iowa to do it. The question is: Can Davis fit into this system while still running the passing game he promises? Because it's becoming clear the system isn't going to work around him, and we've run out of time for figuring it out.
"Outside in the cold distance, a wildcat did growl
Two riders were approaching and the wind began to howl"
Next week, it really begins (if you couldn't tell from the gametime temperatures hovering around 45 tomorrow). And it's all up for grabs, which is precisely when we throw out all those little wrinkles and run up the middle. You will see things tomorrow that you will never see again. So enjoy it, and take away what you can from this tomato can: Nothing. Nothing at all.